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Referral Bonus Program Draws 6,800 New Soldiers

Aug 22, 2007
BY J.D. Leipold

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Aug. 22, 2007) - Under the Army's Referral Bonus Program, sponsors have referred 31,000 recruits resulting in 6,800 contracts as of early August, according to officials at the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Fort Knox, Ky.

Sponsors can earn $2,000 for each contract - $1,000 once a recruit starts basic training, then an additional $1,000 when the Soldier graduates advanced individual training.

"This is really a great way for every Soldier to support the Army and earn a bonus at the same time," said Julia Bobick of USAREC. "It's a good way for Soldiers to tell their stories and be a voice of reassurance that validates life in the Army."

Individuals eligible for the bonus include active-duty and reserve-component Soldiers, Army retirees, Department of Army civilians and new recruits awaiting basic training. Soldiers participating in the Special Recruiter Assistance Program are also eligible. Participants do not receive a bonus for referring immediate Family members, and individuals working in retention and recruiting fields are ineligible.

Maj. Michael Bianchi has brought three Soldiers into the Army under the bonus program, though he estimated recruiting more than 50 into the active and reserve component before the program launched last year.

"For me this is easy because I've been a Soldier for 20 years, and I have a lot of knowledge about the Army and how it works," he said. "I'm honest, upfront and I'm a soft-sell. I let a possible recruit know how the Army can benefit them, how the Army can help them meet their individual objectives through leadership, experience and training."

Reservist Sgt. Shawn Augustson, a signal support specialist with the 463rd Engineer Battalion at Parkersburg, W.Va., has made 192 referrals thus far. His most frequently asked questions, he said, are about basic training.

"They get worried based on stuff they see in the movies and think they won't make it through the training," he said. "I tell them the drill sergeant is there to help them succeed and become a Soldier."

Master Sgt. Gregg W. Curry, a Reservist on active duty at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., has made eight referrals resulting in seven enlistments. He's not eligible for the bonuses because he's in the retention field, but that doesn't bother him.

"I've known Soldiers who received the referral bonus; it's a great incentive," he said. "All Soldiers should be looking to help increase the Army's end strength because when you think about it, every Soldier is a recruiter."

The help may be boosting recruiting efforts. After two months of not making goal, the Army's recruiting numbers are up according to figures released by the Defense Department earlier this month.

The Army made 102 percent of its July recruiting goal, signing 9,972 recruits into the active force. Likewise, the reserve components exceeded their numbers with the Army Reserve making 114 percent of its goal of 4,012 by enlisting 4,589; and the National Guard slightly exceeding 100 percent of its goal bringing in 4,908 future Soldiers.

To qualify for the bonus, sponsors must make referrals through the Army Referral System program under the Sergeant Major of the Army Recruiting Team program. To sign on with the program visit https://www.usarec.army.mil/smart or call (800) 223-3735, ext. 6-0473.

The Every Soldier a Recruiter serves as the referral bonus program for referrals to the National Guard only. Referrals must be made through the Guard's Web site at
www.1800goguard.com/esar or by phone at (866) 566-2472.

For more information on the Special Recruiter Assistance Program, go to www.2k.army.mil/srap.htm.

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